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EPA tightens health standard for airborne lead

WASHINGTON–The Environmental Protection Agency is setting a new health standard for lead to slash the amount of the toxic metal in the nation's air by 90 percent.

EPA officials, who were under a federal court order to set a new standard by midnight Wednesday, said the new limit would better protect health, especially children.

"Our nation's air is cleaner today than just a generation ago,and last night I built upon this progress by signing the strongest air quality standards for lead in our nation's history,"Stephen Johnson,the EPA administrator,said Thursday."Thanks to this stronger standard,EPA will protect my children from remaining sources of airborne lead."

The new limit—0.15 micrograms per cubic meter—is the first update to the lead standard since 1978,when it helped phase out leaded gasoline. It is ten times lower than the current standard,which was 1.5 micrograms per cubic meter.

The new standard announced on Thursday would require the 16,000 remaining sources of lead,including smelters,metal mines,and waste incinerators,to reduce their emissions.

On the Net:EPA Lead site:http://www.epa.gov/air/lead

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE.

WASHINGTON(AP)—The Environmental Protection Agency is setting a new health standard for lead. It will slash the amount of the toxic metal allowed in the nation's air by 90 percent.

EPA officials,who were under a federal court order to set a new standard by midnight Wednesday,said the new limit would better protect health,especially children.

The new limit—0.15 micrograms per cubic meter—is the first update to the lead standard since 1978,when it helped phase out leaded gasoline.

The new standard announced on Thursday would require the 16,000 remaining sources of lead,including smelters,metal mines,and waste incinerators,to reduce their emissions.

Residents of the Silver Valley take back their Community -  

SVCRC has collected more than 1300 signatures from people OPPOSED to the East Mission Flats Respository. Additionally there is support from groups including CART,  KEA,  Center for Justice,  Upper Columbia River Group,  Sierra Club,  the Coeur d'Alene tribe and Eastside Road District who also have gone on record opposing this location, in support of more than the 1300 area residents to date.

KREM TV reports:
Toxic dump raising concerns in North Idaho

Dec 30, 2008:  This week, Tom Reilly an investigator in the EPA Inspector General's office (OIG) spoke with SVCRC and provided the following update to the investigation into issues relating to irregularities with the East Mission Flats Repository project at Cataldo.

Reilly apologized for the delay in the investigation process however it took longer than expected.  The findings will be delivered to EPA's Region X office in Seattle in early January, 2009.  Region X will have until 30 January to respond.  The OIG will then compile the report, the response and other related information and present findings to SVCRC in April 2009.

Future actions may include an audit of Region X operations in regard to the repository, followed by public disclosure.  The OIG has the authority to pressure compliance to regulatory standards.

In the interim, at the repository, a new utility pole and CCTV have been installed.  Previously posted information has been removed and some people are being told that dumping will be allowed.  The original plan called for personnel to be on duty at the repository.

In other news, SVCRC has learned that the State of Idaho received a settlement in the Mattell Lead Toy matter, however it did not make a claim.  SVCRC would like to know where the money is and will appreciate receiving money from those funds to implement their Lead Health Screening Program.



USA Today, July 9, 2008

IDAHO: Kellogg - A massive federal effort to replace residential lawn's in the state's Silver Valley because of mining pollution is finally completed, the US Environmental Protection Agency said.  It said that removing and replaceing some 3000 lawns was deemed the best way to prevent children from being exposed to lead.  Although the EPA declared the work to be done, one environmental group argued the cleanup was mostly cosmetic.


For Immediate Release,  May 20, 2008
Contacts: Dr. Bob Colonna, SVCRC, 208-784-8891
Carla Bassemeir, 208-682-3582
Dr. Gayle Eversole, 509-432-4864

Residents of the Silver Valley take back their Community

With flood waters covering the proposed toxic waste site at the Old Mission at Cataldo, citizens are picking up the pace to inform the public, parents and all those living downstream from the epicenter of the nations largest Superfund site of the contamination and exposure to lead and other heavy metals that will be deposited.

In 2007, members of the community living near the old Mission and the Silver Valley Community Resource Center first learned of plans by EPA and Idaho Dept. of Environmental Quality to build the site by reading a brief news article in the Spokesman Review. The article stated that the agencies had made a final decision to establish a 60 ft. tall, 600,000 cubic yard, 20 acre toxic waste site at the Mission exit. “This was another decision to exploit a community who already has five generations of families living with chronic lead poisoned illnesses,” said Barbara Miller who has been director of the SVCRC for the past 22 years and who grew up at the Mission and is well informed of the annual flooding and toxic pollution in the Bunker Hill/Coeur d'Alene Basin.

In a short time frame last summer a grassroots drive was initiated with the support of local environmental groups, Catholic and other churches, unions and affected citizens including the CD'A tribe to gather more than 700 signatures of those opposing the site. This forced EPA and IDEQ to halt the development of the site. At the same time the SVCRC succeeded in getting a review of the lack of public notification of the site by the EPA Inspector General's office this is presently underway.

“They think we are going to just forget the whole thing and go home”, says Carla Bassemeir who has lived in the Cataldo area for four decades. We can't do this and we are not going to” she adds. Carla is a mother, grandmother, grew up in the Cataldo area and is presently living away from her home because of the flooding. “We care about our children and we have been suppressed in speaking out about the cleanup and health issues all our lives, the Mission waste dump is completely unacceptable and will only spread lead and heavy metals around more and downstream to everyone along the CD'A river and lake”. “What is difficult to understand is that the two agencies are fully aware of the geological and health problems and are still doing everything they can to open the site for dumping, the community needs to heal”, says Dr. Gayle Eversole, board member.

A “Protect our Community” peaceful demonstration is planned for Sunday, June 1, 2:30 pm at the proposed Repository. “The demonstration is to oppose the toxic waste dump at this special, sacred tribal grounds and for anyone who cares about the health of their children and quality of life,” Dr. Bob Colonna, SVCRC consultant. Take the Mission exit to get there. An on line petition and more information can be found at www.silvervalleyaction.com.

Groups including CART, KEA, Center for Justice, Upper Columbia River Group Sierra Club, the Coeur d'Alene tribe and Eastside Road District all who have gone on record opposing the location are asked to participate or hold their own demonstration at the same time in their communities.

Press Release -

March 19, 2008
For Immediate Release
Contact Persons: SVCRC, 208-784-8891
Dr. Gayle Eversole, 509-432-4864

EPA/IDEQ Moving Forward on Old Mission Toxic Waste Dump

Yesterday representatives of the Silver Valley Community Resource Center attended the CD’A Basin Repsitory PFT meeting in CD’A held at the Idaho Parks and Recreation/Fish and Game Room to bring the support of more than 1000 individuals and groups who oppose the establishment of a 19 acre, 600,000 cubic mine waste repository that individuals from Region Ten EPA and Idaho Dept. of Equality are working behind the scenes to establish.

SVCRC members became concerned when Terry Hardwood, Basin Commission director announced at the meeting that it was "a private meeting" and essentially anyone who opposed the repository being built would not be listened to. In addition it was also learned at the meeting that the two agencies only intended for a select group of individuals who were sent special invitations to attend the meeting yesterday.

Dr. Colonna, President of the 21 year old SVCRC when he inquired as to why the two agencies were deliberately leaving out affected citizens input was verbally insulated, shouted at, intimidated and threatened by the chairman to leave the meeting for speaking out in opposition for the repository. "I’ve seen this happen at other meetings, no wonder people become apathetic and don’t attend meetings", said Dr. Gayle Eversole, also a SVCRC board member. "EPA and IDEQ need to be upfront with citizens and not just the special interests driving the Mission Repository, she said. To create a toxic repository at a National Historic Landmark, very public recreational area, native American ancestral lands, wetlands, a well documented flood plain where wildlife, game and birds prevail in abundance is ludicrous not to mention the human health risk exposure to lead and other mine waste is non-negotiable and citizens have every right to speak out and be respected", she added.

It was also announced yesterday that IDEQ and EPA had purchased more property adjacent to the original 19 acres purchased by IDEQ last summer for $90,000.

Anyone wanting to find out more facts about the Old Mission Repository can contact the SVCRC office at 208-784-8891 or the website,
www.silvervalleyaction.com and sign the online petition opposing it. The organization is pursuing legal action and an EPA Inspector General’s inquiry.

From Dr. Bob Colonna

To the Editor:

The article on the front page of Spokesman Review, 1/28/08 "Research Finds Delayed Effects of Lead" by Dr. Brian Schwartz, John Hopkins University is a milestone in understanding the chronic health issues that occur when someone becomes lead poisoned. The recent study is reaffirming the National Academy of Science 2 yr. investigation of the 1500 mile Bunker Hill/CDA Basin cleanup where NAS emphasized that more attention and funding needed to be established for human health issues. John Hopkins study finally counteracts what the special interests including EPA, IDEQ and Panhandle Health District have been doing their best to downplay for years at least since the site was originally designated in 1983.

There have been endless studies over the years that conclude the health risks of lead and other pollutants that have gone ignored except for the work of the Silver Valley Community Resource Center and renown lead experts.

We hope this recent study will finally get the special interests to step aside and begin to help put the confusion of the lead health risk to rest once and for all and we can begin to work to improve the quality of life for former workers, families and children who are and will be exposed.

Ref: Lead Linked to Aging in Older Brains


Little has changed in the Silver Valley - Read one family's story about their nightmare at
www.EARTHWORKS.org/cvsilvervalley.cfm

This addresses concerns not covered in the Jan 08 New York Times travel article.


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